Madhu Trehan earned her Master’s Degree in Journalism in 1971 from Columbia University, New York and started the news magazine India Today in 1975. Trehan produced and anchored Newstrack, India’s first video news magazine in 1986, which earned her a reputation as a pioneering investigative journalist. She covered scoops such as the first footage of Kashmiri terrorists for which the Home Minister demanded her arrest, footage of police shooting protesting students to death and full coverage of destruction of Muslim Mosque by Hindu fundamentalists in 1992. In 2000, Trehan started a website and print magazine Wah! India, where she published a report card rating judges on honesty, knowledge of law etc. She published her best seller Tehelka as Metaphor: Prism Me a Lie, Tell Me a Truth in 2009, examining the sting Operation West End expose and its aftermath, resulting in the destruction of the journalists. She’s written for Outlook India, The Hindustan Times and The Indian Express. In 2012, Trehan, along with three partners, launched NewsLaundry in an effort to disrupt the corrupt media environment in India.
Hi, what’s your name?
Where do you hail from?
Born in India, educated in India, London and New York. Lived in New York for 22 years.
Who do you work for?
Editor in Chief at NewsLaundry based in New Delhi, India.
Tell us a bit about you – how did you get to where you are today?
The burn to create a product that doesn’t exist in the market propelled me to create the print magazine India Today in 1975. Then I created Newstrack, a video magazine, a one hour format of in-depth investigative stories. It was designed to circumvent laws that prohibited private companies from broadcasting – only the government TV news channel existed in India – as people could subscribe or rent the video. Most recently I’ve created NewsLaundry to critique the media. With the establishment of paid content in newspapers and television, Newslaundry was launched to combat the corruption in media.
What are your career highlights?
Scoops I am proud of: interviewing Yaqub Memon, (brother of Tiger Memon, mafia terrorist who masterminded Mumbai blasts) while he was in custody of Intelligence Agency RAW; my book, Tehelka as Metaphor, which I believe exposes how a government destroys journalists after they expose them, while using instruments of democracy and leaving no footprints.
Who or what inspires you to get out of bed in the morning?
The idea I had the night before.
Which other storytellers do you admire?
Steven Spielberg, Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese, Kurt Vonnegut, Jon Stewart, John Oliver, Vishal Bhardwaj, Salman Rushdie, Zadie Smith.
What do you plan to share at Storyology?
The ambitious plan of Newslaundry to become disrupters in the media space. What is our strategy? How far we have gotten today. What we plan to do and how.
Where can we find you?
LinkedIn: Madhu Trehan
Facebook: Madhu Trehan